In Sylhet, Bangladesh, brightly coloured rickshaws dominate the landscape. Cheaper and more convenient than cars, these vehicles are able to navigate the narrow and unreliable country roads that connect the many villages that make up the area.
For rural families who don’t own land, rickshaw driving is one of the only available sources of income. As such, this humble mode of transport is also a means of survival for many.
Nazrul Islam is one of the drivers to benefit from the Muslim Hands rickshaw livelihood programme. Using our local knowledge, we find those most in need and gift them a brand new rickshaw.
Nazrul has been driving rickshaws for many years. His income of between £2-3 per day must support his family of five.
Nazrul’s situation is typical of many living in the villages of Sylhet. His wife, daughter and two sons all live in a one room hut made from bamboo, mud and corrugated iron sheets.
Their roof has gaps in it which means inevitable leaks during the rainy season and there are no furnishings for the dry mud floors.
A stagnant pool is their only source of water. The family have to boil all of their water to make it fit for consumption.
Nazrul’s rickshaw began its life in the workshop of Abdul Gafoor, who has over 30 years’ experience in rickshaw making and has so far made 50 vehicles for Muslim Hands.
Here's the rickshaw in its early stages. It took five days to build and when it was ready our team personally delivered it to Nazrul.
Our Bangladesh country managers Ashraf and Ghufran received a warm welcome form Nazrul, his family and the other villagers, who were all excited to see the rickshaw.
Over the years the Muslim Hands rickshaw programme has provided a lifeline for many. By owning their own rickshaws, drivers no longer have to pay a sizeable chunk of their meagre earnings towards renting vehicles and they are in charge of maintaining their vehicles, allowing them to keep the rickshaws in optimal condition.
Nazrul’s gratitude was truly humbling. The opportunity to earn a decent living for himself and his family was all he had hoped for. And thanks to the generosity of a Muslim Hands donor, his hopes have become a reality.
By Tijen Horoz, Senior Communications Editor
To provide a family like Nazrul's with a sustainable source of income,